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BJP quietly dumps governance agenda

April 19, 2009 14:45 IST

The reluctance shown by most National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners to sign a common agenda for governance before the Lok Sabha elections has made the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) shelve its much-hyped proposal.

"We have put off this proposal till the conclusion of the elections," a BJP spokesperson said. This has come as the first indication that all is not well with the BJP-led alliance.

LK Advani, NDA's prime ministerial candidate, had flagged this proposal in presence of BJP President Rajnath Singh and other senior leaders. While releasing BJP's information technology vision document on March 16, Advani had said that NDA would soon release a common agenda for governance.

However, party leaders said that the idea of this document has now been put off till the conclusion of the Lok Sabha elections.

"Most parties (NDA constituents) have released their manifestos and their leaders are busy campaigning," the spokesperson added. The NDA leaders, according to him, did not have the time to talk about the new document.
However, party sources said BJP leaders had tried to broach this subject with other NDA leaders and arrange a meeting in Delhi to discuss the issue.

"However, nobody showed any interest," the sources said. "We assumed that this was not the time to do it."

Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav, who is also the NDA convener, had not convened a single meeting of the alliance on the election strategy. "We are busy with electioneering," said a spokesperson of his party.

Though NDA has projected a picture of unity in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, BJP had a tough time negotiating seat adjustments with its partners. This has apparently left a trail of anger against BJP,
especially amongst JD (U) members in Bihar. In Maharashtra, talks between BJP and Shiv Sena on seat adjustments had gone through a rough patch.

Even junior partners like the Indian National Lok Dal were unhappy at some stage. The Sukhbir Singh Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal, the oldest of the NDA constituents, was the only party which had no problem with the BJP in seat-sharing. However, Badal told Business Standard that instead of a agenda document for governance, NDA could come up with a common minimum programme after the elections.

Aasha Khosa
Source: